Total six frames were played. Stephen Maguire won the first two frames, Aditya fought back to win the next two frames. But then Stephen won the last two frames. Aditya Mehta lost the match with the final result being 4-2 in favor of the Scottish player
A Winner in Defeat
Contrary to the reality of the scoreboard, everyone was congratulating Aditya Mehta. Aditya Mehta a soft spoken Indian player was looking very happy and content. One wondered what on earth made this player rejoice even in defeat? And as if this was not enough Aditya also expressed his feeling by saying “It’s an amazing feeling!”.
What was it that Aditya had achieved that had left him feeling so good even after losing the match ?
Well one year back I would have reacted the same way or I would have assumed that this boy must have worked hard to practice his winning speech and possibly did not know what to say after losing the game.
It Takes One to Know One
Thanks to a sport enthusiast friend who encouraged me to play snooker one year back, I now recognize the incredible skills that this game requires. For someone, like me, it is a good day, even if I get 1% of my shots right on the snooker table.
Hence I am best suited to describe the incredible perfection required by Aditya Mehta when he scored a perfect break of 147 points in the above described match
As Aditya Mehta himself describes snooker as follows, “What those boys can do with a simple wooden stick is incredible. Go on: name another sport whose physical skill comes close. There isn’t one. Darts demands the similar millimetre precision, but there the board is always the same, as is your position relative to it. Every tricky long red, on the other hand, is subtly different,”
The 147 Break
Now coming back to the point of discussion, In the third frame of the game, Aditya Mehta indeed did something that has been done only 106 times in the history of snooker, only 3 times in the history of Paul Hunter Classic. And yes Aditya is the first Indian to have made it to the One-Four-Seven (147) Club in a World championship event and made India the 14th country whose players have accomplished the Maximum break.
What is One-Four-Seven (147) or Maximum Break?
One-Four-Seven, also called Maximum Break is the holy grail of snooker. It is like a ten wicket haul in cricket. 147 is the maximum possible score in snooker. It requires a player to pot 36 balls in succession in a specified sequence.
One must pot all 15 reds and each red must be followed by black and then one must finish the game by potting all the six color balls without giving any chance to opponent to pot the ball
Why is it a big deal?
The Balls in snooker are organized in such a way that highest scoring ball (black) is placed strategically at the most difficult place to shoot. The black ball is placed directly behind a set of 15 red balls that are placed in a pyramid shape.
Since red balls are placed as pyramid / triangle, when the white cue ball hits any red ball most of the time minimum 4-5 red balls move in such a way that even spotting the black ball is out of question.
In order to make 147 possible, a player must hit the cue ball with such a precision that only one (or at the max two) red ball moves and the cue ball placement is such that black ball can be connected and potted.
I always get fascinated by this game as one touch of player decides the movement of 21 balls, from the time when the cue stick hits the cue ball till the time cue ball stops, there are multiple movements on the table, such as
- Cue ball hits the target ball and target ball may move in any direction.
- Target ball strikes a second ball and the second ball then strikes third ball and so forth, and yes all these balls may move in any direction
- Cue ball can be controlled such that it can move in any direction after hitting the target ball (stops, comes backwards/ moves forward or moves at an angle)
Golden Rules of Snooker
Interestingly the snooker player has only one chance to control all the movements of the ball and hence the player must anticipate and calculate the angle /movement of the other balls and must hit the ball with such a precision that following is achieved
- Target ball moves in desired direction with no undesired disruption to other balls on the table
- Cue ball gets placed at the desired place so that next target ball can be potted (called “calling”)
To control these movement player must control all three axis of the cue stick movement by standing at right angle, by controlling the movement of cue stick and by hitting the cue ball with the appropriate angle at the right point and with the right amount of force, a small variation in any of the above variables could impact the result in a big way.
And all this effort is required for just one shot ! In order to achieve 147 a player needs to hit 36 such shots with the same perfect precision.
The Art of 147
So for scoring 147, the cue ball must pot one red ball and get positioned in such a way that the black ball can be potted, and this must be repeated 15 times to score 120 points (1 point for red + 7 points for black, repeated 15 time). After repeating this magical feat 15 times, the snooker champion has to score the next 27 points by potting all the color balls in a specified sequence, (Yellow, Green, Brown, Blue, Pink and Black in that order).
Now you will agree that this requires a lots for concentration , hours of penance, some good fortune and brilliant play. This is the incredible show that Aditya Mehta put up in a knock out match.
The Aditya Mehta Show
Imagine a player doing this at the World championship event, playing against a former World #2 player , Stephen Maguire. To add to this Aditya had already lost two frames (67-1 & 68-24).
In the 3rd frame Aditya Mehta, turned the magic on by winning that frame, 147-0. He was indeed on a high and this is how he expressed his feeling, “It’s an amazing feeling, – The balls opened up and I knew it was an opportunity by the time I was on 32. I’ve only made one 147 in practice and one in a match in India. I hoped one day I would be lucky enough to make one in a pro event and today it happened out of the blue.”
Thank you Aditya Mehta for that incredible performance but we do know that such great performances do not take place out of the Blue . It require years of hard work, to be an overnight success and the holder of the Maximum Break.